Birth Mother Blog

5 Things to Know about Open Adoption with Lesbian Adoptive Parents 

5 Things to Know about Open Adoption with Lesbian Adoptive Parents

By Samara Wiley

Choosing your child’s adoptive family may not be a simple task as you browse through potential parents for your child. But, as you do so, remember you are not alone. If you are giving a child up for adoption in Missouri, remember that your adoption caseworker is there to help you determine what you are looking for in your adoption journey, and who might be the best fit. As you’re looking through the prospective adoptive parent profiles and narrow down your options, keep this in mind. Everything will be ok. Ask yourself: I’m considering adoption for my baby, and I’m open to having lesbian adoptive parents raise my child, but what would that look like? Would they agree to an open adoption? Will my child have a good life with them?

What Your Child Will Gain with Lesbian Adoptive Parents

  1. Embracing Diversity and Openness

The LGBT community embraces diversity, no matter what your culture or religious beliefs may be. So, with lesbian adoptive parents, your child will learn how to be accepting of everyone, no matter what. He or she will be taught that individuality is something to be celebrated, not judged or discriminated against. This will help your child have a stronger and more healthy sense of self as they grow up as well. 

Your child will be encouraged to ask questions and maintain an open line of communication with their adoptive parents, strengthening the bond they all have together and build a foundation of trust. Being honest and transparent is one of the many keys to success — especially with open adoption. 

  1. Combating Challenges

As your child develops, there is a risk that he or she may endure challenges, as well as mental or emotional issues. These struggles can stem from various things, but your child’s lesbian adoptive parents will be there to support and comfort him or her through it. Because of the similar challenges both adoptive mothers faced in their own lifetimes — separate and together — they will have a wealth of knowledge and tools to pass on to your child. 

For example, if your child experienced an act of judgment or bullying at school, he or she will learn how to healthfully stand up for themselves and learn that who they are is enough. This will help your child learn to believe in themselves and gain confidence 

  1. Communication and Trust

As aforementioned, communication and trust are two of the secrets to success with any adoption, but especially one where there is an open adoption agreement. As a birth mother, having your child raised by lesbian adoptive parents may be a new idea for her, and you may not understand at first how this type of family unit operates. This is where communication and trust come in.

As soon as you select your child’s adoptive parents, talk with them. Set up a time to meet, whether that’s virtually or in person. Get to know them. This will all give you a glimpse of the life that your child will have. It will also help you establish trust with them and affirm that you’ve made the right choice.  

  1. Promote a Sense of Identity

Identity is as crucial to an adoptee as it is their adoptive parents. Within an open adoption with lesbian adoptive parents, your child will never lack in learning the importance of who they are and instilling a strong sense of self. Helping your child grow with this knowledge will help shape him or her into a confident, independent, and happy adult. This, in turn, can lead to courage when faced with tough life choices further down the road. 

  1. Nurturing Kindness

Lesbian adoptive parents will raise their children to be kind and compassionate to others. Learning this at a young age will impact your child in a positive way, and teach them to see the world with a wider perspective. 

This goes hand-in-hand with having them develop into more loving and accepting human beings overall. 

Lesbian Adoptive Parents in Missouri

At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we support open adoptions with you the birth mother and the chosen adoption family. We believe in openness and transparency throughout your adoption process. Our agency is here to offer support and care that you as adoptive parents need during this life-changing process. We will ensure that your child is happy and is loved by becoming a part of your family.  

Adoptive Family Birth Mother Blog

An Adoption Story: The Selfless Choice: Michelle Guykema

The Selfless Choice: Michelle Guykema

“A birth mother puts the needs of her child above the wants of her heart.” 

~ Skye Hardwick

When it comes to making a plan for adoption, birth mothers face a lot of pushback. Stigmas surrounding their choice claim they are irresponsible or just looking to take the easy way out. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Choosing adoption is an excruciating and selfless journey. It is not something that can be decided flippantly, and it isn’t for the faint of heart.

For Michelle Guykema, she’d always wanted to be a mother. It was her ultimate life goal. But, when she became pregnant unexpectedly at eighteen, she didn’t have the resources or lifestyle to adequately make her dream come true. Hence, her path to adoption began.

The following interview is used with Michelle’s permission, including the use of her name and that of my birth father. Names of others involved have been left purposefully nondescript for the sake of privacy or legal reasons. There were so many details shared that not everything was able to make it into this article; however, Michelle has voiced the desire to write a book about her adoption journey, which she hopes to have published one day.

Disclaimer: Please note that the following worldview illustrated in this interview is a reflection of my birth mother’s beliefs and her experience. Adoption Choices Inc. is a non-faith based adoption agency, and ensures clear communication with all parties from beginning to end. 

RR: What was your path to adoption like?

MG: So, when I found out I was pregnant, I was very surprised because I was on the pill. Your birth father and I had a good relationship for a while, but then when he got into drinking and doing drugs, it changed the dynamics of our relationship. He became abusive. He didn’t want you, so I asked my mom and my stepdad if they would help. They were just newly married, though, so they couldn’t do anything about a new baby coming.

I was only working part time and still living with my mom and stepdad. I talked to the pastor of my church — I was working in the daycare, working Sundays and Wednesdays — and he said that he knew of somebody that could help me through the adoption process.

We hired an attorney. I can’t remember who recommended the attorney. If she was recommended by my pastor or not, but through the course of my pregnancy, I was having a really hard time because I didn’t want this. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but I felt like I didn’t have a choice. That I didn’t have the means to take care of you, and I was still living with my parents. Bob wasn’t any help; he didn’t have a job, no money and still living with his parents.

The attorney said she would help us find a family. My pastor was active in the process as well, and said that he would also help us find a family. We met with the attorney several times and she encouraged us to sign the adoption papers right away, but I wouldn’t. Bob signed the papers a couple months later, in March, but I was still holding on for some kind of miracle that I was going to be able to keep you.

RR: How did you select the adoptive parents?

MG: I was given several packets of biographies from different families — I think either seven or nine, but can’t remember — and I read through each one of them. I was like, “I don’t know how to do this. I have no idea how to make this decision.” But I remember sitting on my bed and just praying and crying…I was so overwhelmed. It’s like, how am I supposed to pick who I’m going to give my child to? I don’t know any of these people, and people can put anything down on paper.

So, I turned all the profiles upside down and shuffled them around on my bed. I prayed over every single one and said, “Ok, Lord. You’re picking the family, because I don’t know who they are and You can see what’s going on. I have no idea, so I’m putting my total trust in you.” I closed my eyes, reached down, and took a deep breath. In that moment, I was thinking, “Ok, if I don’t like the person or their name, I can just throw them back in the pile.” (Laughs) But no…I trusted God and chose the packet I picked up, and it was your adoptive parents, Mark and Patty.

After that, I contacted my pastor and he contacted the attorney, and then…I honestly don’t remember a lot of all the moving pieces because it was so emotional for me. This was the hardest decision I have ever made. But we went through the process of what it was going to be like.

RR: Was it your choice to have a closed adoption?

MG: When I talked to my attorney, I told her that I would like to get pictures of you, see who you were, watch you grow up from afar and to have a relationship with you. Stuff like that. I asked her if that would be possible. She told me that your adoptive parents — the interested party — didn’t want to have an open adoption. It needed to be closed. I guess closed adoptions were popular back then, but anyways…I didn’t really feel like I had a choice. It was something I had to agree to.

RR: What did you know about adoption starting out?

MG: I didn’t know anything about adoption. My brother was adopted, but I didn’t really understand what that entailed and it never mattered.  He was my brother and I loved him like he was my natural brother. I hadn’t researched ahead of time because frankly, I really didn’t know where to start. Because of that, I hadn’t educated myself to the degree that I should have to understand all the ins and outs. Adoption also wasn’t talked about back then as it is now.

RR: Did you ever feel stigmatized or judged for your choice?

MG: So…not many people knew. There was my mom and stepdad, and a few family members, Bob’s family and a few of his friends but for the most part, I kept it quiet and hidden because I didn’t want people to know. What would people think of me? The thought of people not liking me because I gave my child up? Yeah, that was scary to me because you get judged as, you know, you don’t love your child or whatever…those people don’t understand what birth parents go through. I loved my daughter more than I loved myself.  I wanted her to have a better life with parents who could afford to give her the best life possible, employed, a stable and loving home, who would have more children and older than eighteen years old. That is why I had to do what I did, to give her the best life possible.

So yeah…I think that I was pretty nervous to tell people. Not only nervous but it was going to be painful to relive my decision over and over when people asked me, “Well, I thought you had a baby. Where’s your baby?” It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

RR: How did you keep your pregnancy hidden?

MG: When I was with Bob, my circle of friends didn’t like him too much, so that was easy not telling them, because I didn’t see them anymore. We mainly hung around Bob’s friends and family. Bob had his own group of friends that he ran with, and I sort of incorporated myself into that. He was like the leader, and all of his friends were very protective of me.

I lived with Bob at his parents house for a few months and when we weren’t camping, we stayed in a lot. We were always at his house or at his best friends’ house.  Then, during the 2nd term of my pregnancy, we rented our own house on Education Hill. We were only there, though, for probably two or three months because we couldn’t pay rent.

RR: Were your parents supportive when you told them you were pregnant? What was their reaction?

MG: Their first reaction was shock. They started asking me all these questions, like: how are you going to do this? Do you know how much a baby costs? You don’t even have your own place yet. You know, typical things like that. Next was concern. Saying, “Ok, you’re pregnant. You’re going to have a baby. You need to move back home with us. You need to start eating healthy. You need to start taking prenatal vitamins.” Stuff like that.

They did not like Bob. They tolerated him towards the end of my pregnancy because I kept hoping he’d change his mind and want to keep you

At one point, though, after the shock wore off, I think I was 3 months along when I told them I was pregnant, my mom and stepdad became very active in my pregnancy. They went to Lamaze classes, they went for walks with me every day, made sure I was eating healthy and taking my vitamins. Went to my doctor appointments with me and even sat me down and said that they wished they could help. That if there was any way they had the finances, they would take care of you. But, because they were newly married and had just bought their first house, they were financially strapped.

I was 6 months pregnant with you when Bob signed the papers. I started hanging out with my parents more. I moved back in with them, and they were there for me through everything.

RR: How did you process and grieve after the adoption?

MG: After I signed the papers, on the day you were born, my attorney told me I had three days to change my mind. No one ever told me that it had to be in writing. Just that I had three days after I signed the papers. So, on the third day, I called my attorney. I was freaking out, and told her I had changed my mind. She basically told me that I had run out of time and that because it wasn’t in writing, there was nothing she could do. Calling her was a knee-jerk reaction. I didn’t actually know what I was going to do if I got you back. All I knew was that I hurt so deeply, missed you so much and I had to figure out a way to stop the pain.

I spent three months in my room at my parent’s house. Sobbing uncontrollably, and rocking myself like I was holding you on my bedroom floor. I got really depressed. Saying goodbye to you was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. I isolated myself, and didn’t go anywhere. I didn’t even talk to Bob or make an attempt to see him. My heart broke when he signed the papers 3 months before you were born, and broke again when I had to give you over to the nurse so she could take you to your new family. In my heart, Bob and I were over then. Although, we didn’t officially break up until the December after you were born.

I couldn’t work at the church nursery for a good three or four months. My pastor told me that the adoptive parents he’d found for you were part of his church, so when I did start at the daycare again, every single baby…I wondered if it was you. I asked my mom if I would be able to recognize you. If I would know I was holding my own child. She told me that we wouldn’t have the same connection, but that it was probably possible that I would. So, I never stopped looking. Every time I saw someone pushing their baby in a stroller, or walking down the street with their daughter. I would always wonder if I’d catch a glimpse of you. I thought about you every day. Prayed for you. Celebrated your birthdays with you. Never gave up hope that one day I would meet you.

RR: How have you found healing?

MG: No one tells you the amount of strength you’ll need to get through this…to continue to go through life. It’s like a death. But, in some aspects, death would be easier. Because while I was grieving the loss of not having you, I knew you were out there with somebody and I couldn’t see you. I couldn’t know what was going on in your life. It was hell.

There’s no way I could have done this without God. He was my focus. My center. He was the reason that I was able to put you up for adoption. I didn’t believe in abortion. That wasn’t even an option. It never crossed my mind. I encompassed everything in my life around God. Listened to Christian music, started going to church a lot more, and became even more active than I had been before. I also read my Bible, and grew my relationship with Christ. Without Him…I didn’t want to be here…so, He is how I got through it.

RR: What was the most challenging aspect of your adoption journey?

MG: I feel that my attorney didn’t give me all the information I should have had. I feel like because I was young, she didn’t think this was any big deal for me. That I wasn’t given the full picture of what things were going to look like. Also, that she was doing this more because it was a job. She wasn’t looking out for my best interest.

Because this affected me so deeply, I really believe that this is why I have a difficult time with trusting people.  Why I have to ask a bazillion questions first. Giving up a child is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to go through, and you want to have people that you can trust. Your attorney should be the one person you can trust the most, because they are supposed to be representing you. I don’t feel like she did that for me.

RR: If there was one, what would be a highlight of your adoption journey?

MG: The Lord honored His promise. He put you with the best family, and they took care of you and loved you as their own. So, in my mind, that makes them amazing parents. And, you’re beautiful! You are just so amazing, and I’m so blessed that I can have you and your parents as a part of my life. The Lord is faithful! He promised, and He took care of you.

RR: What advice would you give to other birth mothers looking to place, and other adoptive parents looking to adopt?

MG: For birth mothers…seriously, do your research. Get as much information as you can. Absolutely make sure what the laws are, and your rights. If you have questions, ask. Don’t leave any holes open. This will affect you the rest of your life.

To adoptive parents…protect your heart as much as you can until you know the child is yours. The risk of falling in love with the child, and things falling through is there. Whether the birth mother changes her mind or something else happens. Always be prepared.

Birth Mother Blog

Counseling and Emotional Support for Birth Mothers in Missouri

Counseling and Emotional Support for Birth Mothers in Missouri

By Samara Wiley

Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy can be such an overwhelming time for you. You may feel like you are doing this alone, your circumstances may not fit with being a parent to your child right now. Whether you are pregnant and struggling in life, well into your career, or a second-time expectant mother — remember you are not alone! At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we are here to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and fully support you throughout your adoption process. We provide free services — including counseling and emotional support for birth mothers in Missouri — to ensure that you have a safe, happy, and positive experience with us. If you’re giving a child up for adoption in Missouri, our experienced adoption counselors can offer you a confidential and private place for you to process your thoughts and feelings about your unexpected pregnancy and the adoption process.

As a birth mother, you have chosen the difficult but wonderful decision of adoption. We understand that you may feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster right now. But you’re in good hands. Here are three amazing resources to help ease your anxiety and bring you comfort as you place your baby for adoption. 

Counseling and Emotional Support for Birth Mothers 

1. One-on-One – At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we offer one-on-one private and personalized counseling sessions. You get to meet with us and discuss your questions or concerns with one of our licensed Birth Parent Counselors. The counselor will first lead you through your three options: parenting, termination, or placing your baby for adoption. If you decide that adoption is the best option for both you and your baby, you will be assigned an adoption caseworker who will assist you every step of the way in your adoption journey. 

2. Support Groups – Finding emotional support will help you feel less alone and help calm your anxiety. Support groups are a great way to do this — especially those created just for birth mothers. You will get to meet other women going through a similar experience — whether they are just getting started in the adoption process, somewhere in the middle, or have already placed their baby up for adoption. This can offer an overwhelming sense of support, comfort, and encouragement as you relate to the women around you. 

3. Birth Mother Retreats Along the same lines, birth mother retreats allow you to share your unique adoption stories and understand your feelings about your own personal adoption story over a weekend or longer period of time. These retreats will help you create lifelong bonds with other birth mothers and establish an inner cycle of comfort, encouragement, and support. After all, you all have a huge, life-changing decision in common — the unselfish sacrifice to give your child a home he or she deserves. 

Questions to Ask During a Counseling Session as a Birth Mother

As a birth mother going through the adoption process, you may have some questions or concerns. For instance, here are three questions that we hear from many of our birth mothers: 

I’m considering adoption for my baby, but…

  1. What will my child think of me? As your child grows up, he or she will come to understand why you placed them up for adoption. Why you chose this decision? If you choose an open or semi-open adoption agreement with your child’s adoptive parents, you will be able to tell your son or daughter that it was because you wanted to give them a better life. That you did this out of love. 
  2. Will I regret my decision? This is an understandable fear that many birth mothers have. As you journey through the adoption process, you will feel the full range of emotions — both positive and negative. One of the negative emotions you feel may include regret. However, know that this is natural and part of the grieving process. It’s ok to feel and process. Adoption, as great as it is, isn’t easy. But, remember, you can always speak with your counselor about any and all emotions you experience.
  3. How do I handle questions about my child’s adoption? You can choose to explain the reasons behind your child’s adoption in any way you want. There are countless ways to answer questions from friends and family, and you shouldn’t feel shame about answering them. At the same time, if there is a question that you feel uncomfortable answering, you are not obligated to. After all, this is your adoption journey. You don’t need to defend your reason for choosing adoption for your child.

Counseling and Emotional Support as a Birth Mother in Missouri

Placing your baby for adoption is an incredibly selfless and brave choice. It’s going to also involve many emotions that you may need help processing. This is perfectly natural! That’s where having that counseling and emotional support as a birth mother comes in handy.

At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we are here to provide you with the care that you and your baby need. We will support and guide you through this difficult but rewarding decision in your life. Remember, you are not alone! You and your baby’s well-being is our top priority. It’s never too late to receive the emotional support that you need as a birth mother.

Birth Mother Blog

Financial Assistance for Birth Mothers: Helpful Resources for Adoption in Missouri

Financial Assistance for Birth Mothers: Helpful Resources for Adoption in Missouri

By Zoë Bowlus

If you’re an expectant mother giving a child up for adoption in Missouri, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed right now. You may be thinking to yourself, “I’m considering adoption for my baby, but I can’t afford an agency.” Now that you’re pregnant, it’s especially important to prioritize your physical and mental health. You need to focus on taking care of yourself and your baby. The last thing you need right now is to be stressed about financial worries. Fortunately, you are not alone. There are many sources of financial assistance for birth mothers. It takes a village to bring a child into this world and, as a birth mother, you have access to plenty of services and programs that will ensure you have a safe, healthy pregnancy and a smooth adoption process. 

If you choose to place your baby for adoption, there are no costs for you. You may even be eligible for financial assistance, depending on your unique circumstances and needs. At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we will help you get the financial support you need to cover any pregnancy and adoption expenses. 

Financial Assistance through Our Agency

Adoption Choices of Missouri offers services and support for birth mothers at no cost. You will work with an adoption caseworker, your trusted guide, resource, and advocate. They will help you through every step of your pregnancy and adoption journey and are available 24/7 for support. Here are some of the ways they can help: 

  • Making an Adoption Plan: Your adoption caseworker will provide you with all the insight you need to create an adoption plan that suits your needs and preferences. You will be matched with an adoptive family you trust to love and care for your baby. 
  • Medical Care: Your prenatal appointments and any hospital fees will be covered. 
  • Transportation: If you need rides to your doctor’s office or the pharmacy, your adoption caseworker will arrange transportation.
  • Housing: If you find yourself in an unsafe or stressful living situation, your adoption caseworker will make sure you have a safe place to live. 
  • Living Expenses: Your adoption caseworker will help assess your financial situation and make sure you receive the support you need to cover living expenses (e.g. rent, food, maternity clothes, and other court-approved expenses). In many cases, your child’s adoptive parents may help cover some of your living expenses as well.
  • Mental Health Care: Choosing adoption is incredibly brave! You may experience a jumble of emotions throughout your pregnancy and adoption journey, and that’s totally normal. Luckily, Adoption Choices of Missouri offers counseling throughout your pregnancy and post-placement. Your adoption caseworker will be a source of compassion and emotional support. We can also find a birth mother support group for you. 
  • Legal Representation: Your rights as a birth mother will be protected. You don’t have to worry about any legal fees. If you choose to work with an adoption attorney, we will pay his or his fees.  

Financial Assistance through Government and State Programs

There are also government programs designed to support pregnant women. Your adoption caseworker will help you figure out if you’re eligible for any of these programs and walk you through the application process. 

  • Medical Care
  • MO HealthNet for Pregnant Women (Medicaid) or Show-Me Healthy Babies (SMHB) – Through these state programs, you will receive healthcare coverage throughout your entire pregnancy. Prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum services are provided. 
  • Healthy Eating: What you eat while you’re pregnant affects not only your health but also your baby’s health, so getting enough food and eating nutritious foods are important priorities. There are a few different programs that will help you cover the cost of healthy groceries. 
  • WIC Program (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) – Through WIC, you’ll be able to add healthy foods (e.g. fresh produce, whole wheat bread, eggs) to your diet. A WIC nutritionist will customize a food package that meets your needs. Using your eWIC card (like a debit card), you can shop at approved stores for WIC Approved groceries. 
  • SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aka Food Stamp Program) – You’ll receive an EBT card loaded with the amount of food stamp benefits you’re approved to receive. Then, you can buy food at an approved SNAP retailer. You can also buy plants and seeds so you can grow your own food. 
  • Safe and Affordable Housing: You may be able to receive reduced rent on an apartment through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Additionally, public housing and housing choice vouchers are available through your local Public Housing Agency (PHA). 
  • Missouri Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – If you need help with utilities, this program will help cover your heating bill from November through March. 

It Takes a Village: Financial Assistance for Birth Mothers

If you’re unexpectedly pregnant, it is okay to need help making ends meet throughout your pregnancy. It is okay to be unsure about what you want your adoption journey to look like. Whatever emotions you’re feeling are completely valid. Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help or lean on your support network (including your adoption caseworker). You may discover how to access resources that are designed specifically for pregnant women like you. 

There are many options for financial assistance for birth mothers. At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we’re here for you, whether we are providing you with our agency’s free services or helping you sign up for government programs. Your and your baby’s best interests, health, nutrition, and safety come first. 

Birth Father Blog

My Adoption Journey: The Man I Never Knew

My Adoption Journey: The Man I Never Knew

Birth fathers are often seen and thought of in society in a certain way. One of the greatest mysteries of the adoption process. A man with no name or face. No true fatherly connection to the child placed for adoption. This rings true especially for me – a fellow adoptee. Since reuniting with my birth mother, I’ve been able to learn her side of the story; but, sadly, I’ll never be able to learn his. He will forever be the man I never knew. The father figure who was never there.

Knowing virtually nothing growing up, I had pinned him as an irresponsible teenager who bailed the moment he discovered his impending fatherhood. A man who, basically, didn’t want me or have anything to do with me. To learn what I could, I reached out to the best source – my birth mother, Michelle. After a healing phone conversation, I gained knowledge that helped put my preconceived notions and residual fears at ease. While this wasn’t the first discussion we’d had about Bob, it was the deepest. Over the past decade, Michelle and I have formed a Gilmore Girl-esque connection and trust, which helps reinforce my bravery to ask more difficult questions. Her memories of the man I never knew fill in some of the blanks.

The following interview is used with Michelle’s permission. She has allowed me to use her real name, and the name of my birth father. Other identifying details have been altered for privacy.

Did my birth father know about me?

Yes, he was at the doctor’s office with me. I took the test, and the nurse told us together. He flipped out and told me to get an abortion. I said no, because I don’t believe in abortion. The nurse said that we could talk in separate rooms. I said no and left the doctor’s office.

Because he had had a kid with his first girlfriend, I think he was really scared of losing you like his son. When he had his visits, Bob was a really good dad. He was able to see his son often, but they moved away and the visits stopped. I think the thought of another kid scared him. He didn’t want to get attached only to lose you, too.

Did he ever want to change his mind?

Oh yeah. Early on in the pregnancy, we talked about getting married and keeping you. There were moments he touched my stomach and he would get goofy and excited.

When did he sign the adoption papers?

Bob signed the papers three months before you were born. I broke up with him because I was hurt that he didn’t want you. He just wasn’t grown up enough to take on the responsibility of becoming a dad.

I didn’t sign until June 30th, three days after you were born  — ironically his birthday. I had three full days with you in the hospital, and I didn’t think I could go through with it. I didn’t let you out of my sight that entire time, and took lots of pictures. My mom and I joked about tying sheets together like in the movies and escape out the window with you — *laughs* — but I knew I couldn’t take care of you.

Did he ever see me after I was born?

Yes. He showed up at the hospital, completely intoxicated. He wanted to check on me. He saw you, but never held you. Maybe because he was drunk, or he was afraid he’d drop you, or…he was too afraid of getting attached.

What happened to him?

I saw him the September after you were born. After that, I didn’t see him until a friend’s funeral in February. That was the last time I saw him. Several years later, a friend called to tell me that he had taken his own life.

Despite the bad times, I have a lot of good memories of him. He was goofy and could make people laugh. He was “the bad guy” on the outside, but gentle on the inside when he wanted to be. He had a reputation to protect, so he acted tough sometimes. When we were dating, I was known as “Bobby’s girl.” His friends protected me. Nobody messed with “Bobby’s girl.”

The sad thing is, for the most part, he was a good man. It was just the drugs and alcohol that made the difference.

Am I like him at all?

You have some of his facial features. There’s a crooked grin you do that’s from him. You have his chin, cowlicks and stocky build. The quick comebacks are definitely from Bob as well. But your nose, personality and lovingness are from me…your hair and eyes are a mix.

The Man I Never Knew

Bob committed suicide on October 4, 1997. Even though I first learned this in 2009, hearing more of the specific details were as heartbreaking as they were healing. I had accepted the statistical probability of his abandonment growing up, but had never prepared myself for the potential of his death.

Awhile back, I visited Bob’s grave, half-expecting there to be some innate sense of connection. Instead, I felt nothing more than a profound disconnect. Certainly the most eye-opening and conflicting experience I’ve ever had in a cemetery. I snapped a photo of his grave plate with my phone, and still have it somewhere in the recesses of my computer’s picture archives. Every once in awhile, I’ll dig through and find it, to see if the feeling of isolation and distance changes to anything closer. Something that resembles any shred of recognition or familiarity. After all, I heard his voice. I had been in the same room as him. Both in and out of utero. But no. He’ll always remain the man I never knew.

Bob had his good moments, and his bad. He made choices, just as we all do. He was human. I’ll always have unanswerable questions, but…overall, he granted me life, and I’m forever grateful for that.

Adoption Choices of Missouri serves birth parents statewide and beyond, please call us or text us to learn more! Call us toll free at 877-903-4488 or, in Missouri call or text us at 1-816-527-9800

Birth Mother Blog

Choosing an Adoption Agency that is Right for You as a Birth Mother in Missouri

Choosing an Adoption Agency that is Right for You as a Birth Mother in Missouri 

By Samara Wiley

After going back and forth, and looking at all your options from every angle, you’ve decided that placing your baby for adoption is the best path to take. Now begins the challenge of mapping out your adoption journey, and determining what kind of life you want your child to live. It’s a big decision. There are many factors to consider when giving a child up for adoption in Missouri. One of the very first aspects is choosing an adoption agency to work with.

Selecting an adoption agency that is right for you takes time. Depending on where you live, there may be multiple adoption centers near you or within a reasonable driving distance. It’s important to do as much research as you can and write down a list of questions and requirements you have for your adoption journey. 

I’m Considering Adoption for My Baby. What Should I Look for When Choosing an Adoption Agency?

At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we want you to feel confident about the adoption agency you choose. Here are several valuable steps to help you narrow down your options.

  1. Conduct Thorough Research

Research the domestic adoption agencies in your area and talk to different birth parent professionals. Find an agency that you feel will best assist you and your baby in the adoption process. Make sure you feel comfortable with the adoption agency and research their online information. Whether or not an agency has a professional-looking website can say a lot about who you could be working with.

Our adoption center in Missouri offers detailed blogs and resources that outline who we are, who we work with, and a glimpse into the journey you will have with us. From the moment you begin your adoption journey with us, through birth and delivery to after the adoption is finalized, you will be assigned an adoption caseworker who will be there to answer your questions, address your concerns, and discuss your options to help make this decision easier for you. We also have Birth Parent Counselors available for you to receive emotional support, comfort, and encouragement whenever you need it.

  1. Ask Lots of Questions 

Never be afraid to ask questions of your adoption caseworker. There is no such thing as a stupid or irrelevant concern when it comes to you and your baby. Your adoption agency should have your best interests at heart at all times and want to support and encourage you in any way they can.

Your health and safety — and that of your baby — is our top priority at our agency. We want to make sure that we provide you with the most positive, empowering and comforting experience possible. 

  1. Select your Adoption Agency 

Choosing your adoption agency can be a difficult process. However, making a list of pros and cons can help make this decision easier for you and help you eliminate which agencies you feel do not fit what you’re looking for. 

At our agency, we will help you through every step of the adoption process. Our goal is that you feel comfortable, and have all the support you need and deserve.

Choosing an Adoption Agency that is Right for You

At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we are here to assist you in every aspect of the adoption process. Choosing our agency means you, as a birth mother, will be taken care of. After your adoption has been finalized, we will make sure you get any additional assistance you need. Whether that is through counseling or finding a support group in your area, we want you to have all the resources available for you to healthfully grieve and move forward after finalization. We honor and celebrate the choice you made to place your baby for adoption, and we want you to know how valued you are as a birth mother.

It doesn’t matter where you’re at in life, or what personal circumstance you’re in. We are here to help you in any way we can. 

Birth Mother Blog

Spotlight on Single Parent Open Adoption

Spotlight on Single Parent Open Adoption in Missouri 

When developing your adoption plan, you have a lot of options. As the birth mother, you are in charge. You get to decide what type of adoption and what type of adoptive family suits your needs and your baby’s best interests. 

At Adoption Choices of Missouri, families hoping to adopt come in all shapes and sizes. Have you thought about single parent open adoption

Why Choose a Single Parent? 

There are many reasons to choose a single parent. Perhaps you were raised by a single parent yourself. Maybe you’re afraid that your child will have to witness or experience domestic violence or watch their adoptive parents go through divorce. Or, factors other than family size may be more important to you when choosing adoptive parents. Maybe you’re looking through profiles of adoptive families and you just feel a connection with a single parent. Trust your instincts and prioritize your preferences. 

A single parent hoping to adopt has a lot to offer your baby, including 

  • Financial security
  • Housing 
  • Safe and stable environment
  • Educational opportunities
  • A strong desire to be a parent
  • A strong support system of family and friends

All adoptive families at Adoption Choices of Missouri have passed interviews, background checks and home studies. All single adoptive parents who work with us are qualified to welcome your baby into their lives with love and care. 

Why Choose an Open Adoption? 

In an open adoption, you choose how and when you will communicate with the adoptive parent and your child before, during and after placement. You and the single adoptive parent have the chance to exchange contact information, and you can share medical information so that your child will have access to their health history. 

An open adoption allows you to have a relationship with the adoptive parent and your child. It’s up to you how open and close that relationship is. Your comfort level and desires are important. Make sure you talk to your adoption caseworker so they can help you find an adoption arrangement and adoptive family that will meet your needs.  

Every adoption plan is different and customized according to the birth mother’s wishes. Here’s what single parent open adoption might look like for you throughout your adoption journey: 

  • Matching: Once you’ve matched with the single adoptive parent(s), your adoption caseworker can coordinate a meeting. You could talk to the parent over the phone, schedule a video chat or meet in person so you can get to know them better. 
  • During Pregnancy: If you’d like, the adoptive parent could come with you to in-person doctor’s visits (be sure to check out your hospital’s COVID-19 visitor policies) or be present if you’re having an appointment over video. 
  • At Birth: When you’re making your hospital plan, consider what role you’d like the adoptive parent to play. Do you want the parent to be with you as you give birth? Do you want to spend time in the hospital together, just you, the adoptive parent and your baby? Or, if you’d prefer, the adoptive parent could be in the waiting room while you spend some alone time with your baby. 
  • Post Placement: After an open adoption has been finalized, you can stay in touch with the adoptive parent and be involved in your child’s life. Think about how often you’d like to be in touch. How frequently do you want to receive updates? Do you want to keep in touch by phone, email, letter or video chat? You could also agree with the single parent to visit in person. Do you want the adoptive parent to send you pictures of your child? Do you want to change the frequency and type of communication as your child grows up? 

Is Single Parent Open Adoption Right for You? 

There’s a lot to think about as you work with your adoption caseworker to create your adoption plan. Choosing the family who will raise your child is a big decision. Remember to respect your own needs. Share your feelings. Ask questions. Voice your concerns. At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we are here to help you find an adoptive family. 

At the end of the day, you want to select a family who will provide your baby with warmth, stability, love and opportunities. A single adoptive parent can do just that. 

If you choose to have an open adoption and a single adoptive parent, your child will be able to know his or her adoption story. He or she will know that they are fortunate to have two loving parents in their life: you, who made a brave decision to choose adoption, and their adoptive parent. 

Adoption Choices of Missouri serves birth parents statewide and beyond, please call us or text us to learn more! Call us toll free at 877-903-4488 or, in Missouri call or text us at 1-816-527-9800

Meet the AuthorZoë Bowlus, a writing and editing enthusiast, considers herself a grammar groupie and suffers from a weakness for wordplay and working with words, whether she is reading, furiously typing away, playing Words with Friends, or filling in the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.  

She was adopted from Vietnam as a baby and began exploring her adoptee identity in Asian American Studies and Communication courses at UC Santa Barbara. As she combed through adoption literature for her last essay of college (she graduated with highest honors in 2020), she was inspired to use the research, editing, and writing skills she developed in college and her personal experience to create resources and share stories about adoption in a professional context. Writing for Adoption Choices, Zoë hopes to support people on their adoption journeys and to grow as an adoptee herself. 

Zoë is an aspiring cat lady who is allergic to cats. She enjoys curling up with homemade hot chocolate, kettle corn, and a good book but laments the absence of a feline reading companion. Her bedside table and bookshelves are overflowing with World War II historical fiction, Asian American and Mexico-U.S. borderlands fiction, contemporary fiction, grammar and style books, and collections of profiles. She spends an inordinate amount of time playing bridge.  

An avid NBA fan, Zoë lives in Sacramento, the primary reason anyone would root for the Kings. She holds out hope that they will make it to the playoffs during her lifetime. 


Birth Mother Blog

Can I Choose Adoption if I’m in the Military? 

Can I Choose Adoption if I’m in the Military

Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and being a mom in the military can definitely make you feel overwhelmed. You may be busy on a tour and not in a position to care for your child, or give your child the life he or she deserves. You might wonder if adoption is still an option for you. 

Absolutely! Adoption is available to you and your baby whether you find yourself leaving for active duty or traveling overseas. At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we are here to help. 

Steps to Take as a Birth Mother in the Military

  1. Choose an Adoption Agency

Being on duty as a birth mother in the military can be hard, but choosing an adoption agency should not be. If you are overseas or stationed to leave, you can still contact Adoption Choices of Missouri and talk to a birth parent professional who will assist you in the adoption process. 

  1. Create an Adoption Plan

Being a military mom means things can move quickly.When you have finally decided on adoption, an adoption professional who will help you create an adoption plan that is right for you and your baby. Wherever you are stationed U.S. or overseas, you will be able to discuss your adoption plan choices and decide which adoption plan is right for you and your child.  There are 3 different plans that you can choose from — open, semi-open and closed.

  1. Pick the Adoptive Family

Choosing your child’s adoptive family is no different if you’re stationed overseas or on active duty. You will be allowed to look through family profiles and still be able to pick the right family who fits your personal preferences — from LGBT or single parents, to transracial parents or another military family. Once you pick your child’s adoptive parents, you can start communicating with them through video calls, phone calls, emails, text messages or any other communication method available to you. 

Your Hospital Stay as a Military Birth Mother 

As a military birth mother, you may have to travel back to the U.S. to deliver your baby. Be sure to speak with your military supervisor so that you and your baby can receive the best accommodations when the time comes 

During your hospital stay, you will have the option to spend as much time alone with your baby as you wish. You can also spend time with your child’s adoptive parents, getting to know them more as well. If you’d like to have pictures taken of yourself and your baby, or a group picture with your child’s adoptive parents, let your caseworker or a nurse know, and they can do that for you.

Your time in the hospital is entirely up to you. Even if you’d laid out your adoption plan before, you can always change your mind the day of. This is your time to say goodbye and do everything you need to do in order to return to duty with no regrets.

Choosing Adoption as a Woman in the Military

Whether you choose adoption early on in your pregnancy or towards the end, you will have all the guidance and support that you need throughout your adoption process. Remember, everything that happens is up to you and that, from the moment you place your baby for adoption with our agency, we will be there to walk with you every step of the way.

At Adoption Choices of Missouri  our Birth Parent Counselors will give you the respect and care that both you and your baby deserve. Our team will ensure that you have a successful adoption, and that your child is happy and healthy with his or her adoptive family.  

Adoption Choices of Missouri serves birth parents statewide and beyond, please call us or text us to learn more! Call us toll free at 877-903-4488 or, in Missouri call or text us at 1-816-527-9800

Meet the Author: Samara Wiley is a published author of poetry, essays, and an environmental children’s storybook called, Waiting for the Water Fairy. She graduated from Benedictine University in 2018 with a double Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and French.She has been published in three small poetry anthologies one was called Talented.

Her other writing accomplishments include: winning a high school poetry competition and $2500 for her high school, having two out of her five novels be considered for publication and writing movie critic reviews for her university’s newsletter. 

Although she has Cerebral Palsy and has had a turbulent childhood, Samara puts these small specs of herself into her writing to personally connect with her audience. She prides herself on pushing the boundaries in her writing and in her personal life with everything she does. Samara writes with her heart and a voice of compassion, and loves to pull from her top passions in life.

She currently lives in Yorkville, Illinois with her mom and two sisters.

Birth Mother Blog

5 Reasons to Choose LGBT Adoptive Parents as a Birth Mom in Missouri

5 Reasons to Choose LGBT Adoptive Parents in Missouri as a Birth Mother

By Samara Wiley

LGBT couples and individuals deserve to be parents because they are caring, understanding, and fully committed to raising their children with all the love they have to give. Unfortunately, LGBT adoptive parents are all too often overlooked due to social, cultural, or personal biases. However, studies show little to no difference between a heterosexual or same-sex family’s impact on raising a child. That there are, in fact, many benefits to choosing LGBT Adoptive Parents in Missouri for your child.

Deciding what kind of family you want to raise your child is a major part of the adoption process. If you are giving a child up for adoption in Missouri consider choosing LGBT adoptive parents! Adoption Choices of Missouri lists the top 5 reasons that a birth mother should choose LGBT adoptive parents.

Reasons to Choose LGBT Adoptive Parents in Missouri

  • They Choose to be Parents – Same-sex couples and individuals chose to be parents through adoption, because they can’t have children on their own, but still want to embark on the exciting journey of parenthood. They want to give your child all the love and care he or she deserves. 
  • They Embrace Diversity Having your child grow up with same-sex parents in a non-traditional household can teach them about accepting other children or people who may be different from them. For instance, those who are from a different culture, belief system, or worldview. Having LGBT adoptive parents will allow your child to embrace these differences and express them in a positive way.
  • They Understand Life’s Challenges Having LGBT adoptive parents raise your child means that they will teach him or her about being different in many aspects of their life. Whether through mental or emotional issues, LGBT adoptive parents are well-equipped to handle the struggles of your adoptee’s childhood and adolescence. 
  • They promote Openness in the House Same-sex households are often more open and understanding. As a whole, LGBT adoptive parents promote openness and transparency. They understand these qualities are very important parts of building trust and strong communication with your child.
  • They promote Confidence Same-sex adoptive parents will teach their children to be confident in everything that they do. This confidence will allow them to develop a healthy sense of belonging in the world. 

An Abundance of Love

As a birth mother choosing LGBT adoptive parents for your child, you can rest easy. Your son or daughter will be loved unconditionally and mature into a happy and healthy adult. Furthermore, your child will gain new perspectives. If you choose an open adoption agreement, you can witness these new perspectives alongside them. Your child will gain an abundance of love and understanding that you will come to cherish.    

Birth Mother Blog

Qualities Look for in an Adoption Attorney as a Birth Mother in Missouri

Qualities Look for in an Adoption Attorney as a Birth Mother in Missouri

By Zoë Bowlus

An adoption attorney is a professional who specializes in family law, specifically adoption. Because they are experts on the legal side of adoption, they are a great resource and advocate to have by your side as you progress on your adoption journey. When you work with us at Adoption Choices of Missouri, you are not required to have an adoption attorney in Missouri. We offer legal services to ensure your rights as a birth mother are protected, and any legal fees will be covered by our agency. However, if you are giving a child up for adoption in Missouri and wish to be represented by an adoption attorney, it is an option. 

Here are some qualities to look for in an adoption attorney as a birth mother

Important Qualifications and Aspects to Consider

To learn more about adoption attorneys and their qualifications, see if they have their own website or if they have a profile on their firm’s website. As you’re browsing, ask yourself the following questions and see if you can find the answers. If not, be sure to ask the adoption agency itself through a phone call or in-person visit.

  • Are They Licensed? 

Is the attorney licensed to practice family law in Missouri?

  • Are They Experienced? 

How long have they been practicing? Do they specialize in adoption law? Do they have experience with domestic infant and newborn adoption cases? 

You want to make sure that your attorney has experience working with birth mothers like you. For instance, did you match with an adoptive family that lives in another state? Are you a single birth mother? Have you chosen an open, semi-open or closed adoption? It’s helpful if an attorney has represented birth mothers in circumstances similar to yours. 

Check out the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA), which is a reputable professional organization of attorneys who specialize in adoption. For an attorney to be listed in the AAAA directory, they must have practiced law for at least five years and they must have worked on at least 50 adoptions. So, you can set your mind at ease, knowing that they are legitimate and experienced. 

  • Do They Get Great Reviews? 

Check out lawyer review sites, such as Yelp or Did people leave favorable comments? Does it seem like other clients had a good experience working with this attorney? 

It’s essential that an Adoption Attorney can be Trusted 

Making an adoption plan is a major life decision. If you want to bring an attorney on board your adoption team, you want to make sure they are respectful and caring. 

When it comes to whether you trust an adoption attorney, careful research is important, but remember to also trust your own instinct. Consider these questions when evaluating an adoption attorney: 

  • Do they seem trustworthy? 
  • Do they seem supportive, understanding and kind? 
  • Do you feel comfortable around them? Do you feel like you connect with them? 
  • Do you feel like they will honor your wishes and needs?
  • Do you feel confident that they will provide expert guidance?
  • Do you feel that they will do their best to help you? 
  • Does it seem like they will look out for you and protect your birth mother rights? 

Logistics and Communication

How can you communicate with your attorney (e.g. phone call, email, text, ZOOM appointments or in-person meetings)? If you’re going to meet in person, is their office conveniently located for you? 

Finding an Adoption Attorney 

If you have more questions about prospective adoption attorneys after researching, give them a call. Your adoption caseworker can also help you choose an adoption attorney. 

Remember that you don’t need an adoption attorney if you work with Adoption Choices of Missouri. But, if you’d like to add an advocate to your support network, be sure to consider these qualities to look for in an adoption attorney as a birth mother. You need and deserve a team of people who have your best interests at heart, so finding a knowledgeable adoption attorney you trust is important.